- Associated Press - Thursday, June 4, 2015

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Closing arguments are set for Friday in the case of a former BP executive charged with lying to federal investigators about the 2010 BP oil spill.

Prosecution and defense teams each will have an hour to make their final statements to jurors Friday morning, U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt said as testimony in David Rainey’s trial wrapped up Thursday. The jury is expected to begin deliberations by noon on the single criminal count facing Rainey.

The trial centers on calculations Rainey made about the rate at which oil was flowing from BP’s Macondo well following the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon offshore rig.

Prosecutors say Rainey manipulated early estimates to match low government estimates. He is charged with lying about it to federal agents a year later. Rainey denies it. His attorneys say he had no reason to lie.

The jury was selected Monday and during the three following days saw evidence, including phone records. Jurors also heard testimony on when Rainey allegedly learned of a too-low government estimate of how much oil was flowing from the disaster site, whether he “backed into” calculations to match that estimate, and whether he lied to investigators about it a year later.

The April 20, 2010, explosion killed 11 rig workers and spewed millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

In addition to the charge of making a false statement, which carries a possible prison sentence of up to five years, Rainey had been charged with obstruction of Congress. However, Engelhardt threw out that charge and, on Thursday, rejected a government motion to reinstate it.

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